On Oct. 29 the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted a screening of the documentary “America Lost” in Knott auditorium. AEI is a DC-based public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential and building a freer and safer world. AEI recently started a new initiative called the Initiative on Faith and Public Life. Under this initiative is the Executive Council program. Harry Scherer (C’22) attended the AEI’s summer Honors program and learned more about their Executive Council program. Scherer, Rebakah Balick (C’22) and Taylor Radell (C’22) wanted to see if they could push to form a group here at the Mount.
“Balick, Radell and I thought that the formation of this group on campus would be a great way to further the mission of AEI and integrate that mission with the mission and culture of the Mount,” said Scherer.
Therefore, the executive board of AEI hosted a night for students to watch “America Lost” directed by Christopher Rufo. The movie was about three small towns that underwent a drastic change over the past few years from well developed and flourishing towns to deep poverty towns under pretty terrible conditions. Scherer says that the purpose of screening the documentary was to “show this documentary because it exposes what can happen when our institutions crumble. All three cities experienced rapid and devastating economic decline but this decline cannot be the sole reason for their disintegration. The breakdown of their social institutions is certainly a reason for the collapse of these once-booming towns. Hopefully, the film encouraged the students, faculty and administration who were present to reflect more deeply on the importance of our faith, families, work and communities.”
Balick spoke on the future of AEI and what the screening of the documentary meant for people here at the Mount. “We were anxious for the Council to be able to launch its first public event this semester and a film screening seemed like the proper thing for our debut hosting. The documentary “America Lost” fits well with the themes and discussions that we want to foster at the Mount and also fits well with the values conveyed in the university core curriculum.”
Radell speaks on what the documentary taught and showed her and she took the screening of the documentary as an opportunity to learn new things. “Watching the documentary demonstrated to me the importance of faith-based organizations and the great work they do in fostering community in lost towns such as the ones seen in the documentary. Again, the importance of direct human to human contact cannot be understated and faith-based organizations help to best facilitate these crucial relationships.” Scherer, Radell and Balick want to offer a thank-you to their advisor Dr. Josh Hochschild and Mitchell Baron from AEI. They also offer their thanks to all the students who came out to watch the documentary. Stay tuned to more events hosted by AEI. AEI can be reached at email@example.com for any questions or for more general information.